Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's all about the meat baby! Carnevino!

Carnevino @ The Palazzo
3325 Las Vegas Blvd,South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 789-4141

Little three cheese balls.  I wish I could remember the Italian name, but these little cheesy, salty, crispy critters started out our meal. 

I know...it's hard to tell the difference, but if you look carefully, one looks whitish and the other a soft yellow.  Yes...the yellow one is butter.  Do you know what the other one is?  Any guesses?  It's lardo with sea salt and rosemary.  What is lardo?  Well...take the "o" off the end and that is exactly what you get.  Yup. Lard.  Pure pig fat...seasoned and ready to spread on your bread.  Now, I think it would be best if this were spread onto some very hot bread, but I was chatting away with my friend that I didn't do it fast enough so it didn't melt.  It was really interesting...but I think my heart still belongs to butter.  My dear sweet friend. 

Big Eye Tuna "Crudo" cucumbers, radish and preserved lemon puree.  What is really cool about the preserved lemon is that these lemons were jarred from the summer time and then used later on for a variety of dishes later on during the year.  The dish was light and refreshing, but the pepperyness of the radish and the slight bitterness of the preserved lemon and rinds was kind of throwing my palette off and I wasn't necessarily in love...but I did love the creativity. 

Carne Cruda alla Piemontese:  a more rustic steak tartare chopped to order and served with raw shimeiji and royal trumpet mushroooms.  Now, I don't typically order steak tartare, but my friend LOVES it, so I am open to trying it, so we order it.  I have to steak...this was damn, freaking good.  There was a bit of acidity that livened up my palette and the bits of chives were so fresh and tasty.  I really enjoyed this dish and would get it again. 

What's hidden beneath our cart?

Our succulent steak awaits beneath and on top of the cart were our side dishes.

First up was our mascarpone and guanciale mashed potatoes...and a sweet little surprise was a poached egg on top!!

For some greens, we got the sauteed spinach with hot peppers...YUM!
They also mixed up our egg into our potatoes.  I did wish it had a bit more flavor.  The texture of the potatoes was a bit on the grainy side, so I just took a slab of that sweet butter and mixed it in.  It totally took it up a notch.  I should've just asked for some salt and pepper, but I didn't.  If I did...I think it would've elevated this dish a bit more.
Oh my sweet dear Lord in heaven...

 This is an 8-month old dry aged Ribeye reserva...two inch thick cut.

Captain Kirk is doing the honors.

After the meat has been sliced and plated, it is sprinkled with some Maldon sea salt and drizzled with this very lovely DaVero extra virgin olive oil.  You can check out their website:  www.davero.com

Thank you for posing with the olive oil Capt. Kirk! 

That's right...medium rare.  Look at that drop of blood mixed with the smallest droplets of olive oil. 

Hmmmm.... For those of you who are vegetarian...look away.  I don't want you to feel ill.  For all you carnivores...just talking about it and seeing this picture is making me salivate like crazy.  

Let me make this very sweet and short.  I have never had a piece of steak that tasted so damn good.  I am a sauce person...I always have been and I always will.  In fact, I ordered the Barolo ristretto, a straight forward wine sauce...just in case.  What a waste of money that was!  Not because it wasn't good, but because it was completely unnecessary and a total waste of money!  This steak was so tender, SO flavorful and just kick ass good...I did not need or want the sauce.  Seriously...if you can, wait for the waiter to tell you what specials they have...what incredible piece of dry aged steak they might be featuring on your lucky night at Carnevino.  Whatever it may be...take it. Order it.  Enjoy it!  And don't ask to have it cooked well done.  If you want it well done...then, I suggest you not order the reserva steaks.

Dessert:  A toasted Pahrump Honey Panna cotta with a pear gelati and gingersnap crumbles and more Pahrump local honey.  You could totally taste that rich toasted honey flavor in the panna cotta.  Which by the way was so smooth and creamy...but in order to eat it all, you really need that pear gelati to cut the richness.  I really like the gingersnap crumbles, but there is never enough...but it was a nice bit of crunchy texture to break up the softness from the panna cotta and gelati.

So how should I end this post and if I could tell Mario himself what I thought of his steaks?!
Mario, dear sweet Mario...you out did yourself.  How I loved that 8-month old dry aged ribeye reserva steak.  It was seasoned perfectly, cooked perfectly and the flavor of the meat...made me speechless.  Thank you for creating a steak house with amazing steak.  

If you're in Vegas and have a desire for some effin awesome red meat...make a reservation and head over to CARNEVINO at the Palazzo.  

p.s. Don't forget...ask for the steak specials. 


Yes, I did in fact go back like I said I would.  I went around 5 pm, right after they stoked the coals.  Good time or bad time.  Well, we were told by the hostess that it was a great time.  So we sat...we ordered.  Two salads, a cheese pie and a calzone stuffed with sausage and pepperoni.  

I'm having technical difficulties with the pictures...but I just wanted to say.  The pie was DEEEEEELICIOUS!  It was hot, crisp and gooey cheesy goodness!  Nothing like the last time!  They have completely redeemed themselves.  

The Mediterranean salad was pretty tasty too...ask for more dressing on the side and give it a good ol' sprinkling of salt and pepper.  The red wine vinaigrette was tangy and herbacious!  It was SO tangy I started choking on it and I couldn't breath and started tearing.  Has that ever happened to any of you and you can't stop coughing?  OMG...I hate that!  I feel like all my eyeliner and mascara is running down my face.  lol 

Going back to that whole coal stoking bit.  The hostess said that the coals are hotter right after they stoke it so that's when it makes the best pizza.  I of course had to ask our waiter, Dave about this whole coal stoking business and see if it really makes a better pizza.  He said no, not really.  But because it is just stoked, it is super hot and sometimes can dry out the dough and make it like a cracker.  Our dough was in fact a bit drier, but compared to the last time...I'll take drier dough over wet, soggy dough.  Overall though, we were super happy with our pie and the calzone with the sausage and pepperoni was really good.  Lots of great seasonings in the sausage, tons of ricotta and melted mozzarella and Grimaldi's famous marinara to dip it in.  Dave our waiter also told me to eat my cheese pizza with some Caesar salad on top.  (again, a bit more dressing and seasonings to punch up the flavor).  

I felt so much happier and so did Annie.  Grimaldi's has been vindicated and we have found a new pizza joint!  Perhaps we will go a couple of hours after they stoke...but beware pizza freaks...this joint gets packed.  

Thank you Grimaldi's for reinstating my faith in you and your coal oven pizzas!